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Multichannel Musicservers (Hardware)


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Hello everyone,

I am new in this wonderful world of Computer audiophile.

I am a great mc fan an own more than 100 great mc Albums, all ripped and in FLAC and DSD (DSF) available.

There are so many new Hardware Musicservers and DAC´s out for sale, but there is heardly any Information about there ability to Play multichannel files.

Can anybody provide a list of Musicservers and DAC which are capable to Play mc.

 

Thank you

Burkhard

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Generally, music servers are agnostic when it comes to number of channels. It's the music players and the DACs that are the limiting factor.

 

I have a full multichannel setup and can play them in the following:

Minimserver, UPnP Open Home control point (Kazoo, for example), exaSound Playpoint renderer and exaSound e28 DAC

Same as above except MPD (instead of UPnP and Minimserver) and local storage in Playpoint

JRiver and JRemote into exaSound e28

HQplayer/NAA into exaSound e28 (any of my NAAs can be involved, including Playpoint or WS2012R2 Caps Carbon with JCAT card)

JRiver, DLNA or HQplayer into stacked Mytek Stereo 192 DACS (using USB hub)

HQPlayer into Merging NADAC (via ethernet)

 

Net/net, players like HQPlayer and JRiver are multichannel friendly, as are renderers like Playpoint (exaSound only). I believe Audirvana +(Mac) is also multichannel friendly. DACs include a prototype stack setup of Myteks (I reviewed here), the exaSound e28 (I reviewed here), Merging NADAC (just beginning to eval for a review, see Kal's review in Stereophile), Metric Halo LIO8 (PCM only), among others. The DSD database link below has a column for multichannel.

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Hello everyone,

I am new in this wonderful world of Computer audiophile.

I am a great mc fan an own more than 100 great mc Albums, all ripped and in FLAC and DSD (DSF) available.

There are so many new Hardware Musicservers and DAC´s out for sale, but there is heardly any Information about there ability to Play multichannel files.

Can anybody provide a list of Musicservers and DAC which are capable to Play mc.

 

Thank you

Burkhard

 

Look no further than my signature for a quality multichannel Open Home system. Foobar2000 with the listed plugins readily integrates with the Open Home Control Point and renderer. Fortunately, the Open Home system easily integrated with the existing ethernet and system infrastructure.

 

Last summer I evaluated JRiver MC 20, but it didn't sound very good. Linn Kazoo was easy to install, but it doesn't support as many file formats as Foobar2000. HQPlayer is a lost cause for now, however.

 

BTW. in the past few weeks, I've purchased the following combi titles:

 

Wish I had the 50 physical SA-CD in my collection in DSD file format, but that's another story. Multichannel system now sounds better than it ever has. Open Home even supports gapless file playback; look no further than the Prokofiev for verification of this.

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Thanks for being a good NativeDSD customer. We appreciate it. But what about this?

HQPlayer is a lost cause for now, however.

 

What's the problem (other than the incompatibility with your OpenHome setup I mean)? I don't want your statement to make new multichannel folks think HQplayer is not a go-to option; it very much is. Hell, you can even convolve DSD in multchannel in HQP (nowhere else).

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Look no further than my signature for a quality multichannel Open Home system. Foobar2000 with the listed plugins readily integrates with the Open Home Control Point and renderer. Fortunately, the Open Home system easily integrated with the existing ethernet and system infrastructure.

 

Last summer I evaluated JRiver MC 20, but it didn't sound very good. Linn Kazoo was easy to install, but it doesn't support as many file formats as Foobar2000. HQPlayer is a lost cause for now, however.

 

BTW. in the past few weeks, I've ... .

 

Thanks for being a good NativeDSD customer. We appreciate it. But what about this?

 

 

What's the problem (other than the incompatibility with your OpenHome setup I mean)? I don't want your statement to make new multichannel folks think HQplayer is not a go-to option; it very much is. Hell, you can even convolve DSD in multchannel in HQP (nowhere else).

 

The problem with HQ Player is it's currently an incomplete design.

 

If you had bothered to read my posts last month in the HQ Player Network Audio Adaptor thread of the Networking forum, you would know that.

 

I unsuccessfully wasted two months of my valuable time trying to get HQ Player to work with it's NAA. When I finally asked for help, I received none. Instead, I was ignored, told to search for non-existent posts, get a bit of kit (££££) and generally treated rudely by all involved in that thread.

 

I never did get HQP working.

 

Only when I implemented Foobar2000 in an Open Home environment, was I able to approach my original intentions with HQ Player.

 

I stand by my original assessment for now. Until Miska fixes it, HQ Player is a lost cause.

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Bothered? Nice comment....I was in the middle of the damn thing; we were all trying to educate you since your concept of NAA is wrong, and you were going down DLNA paths that were irrelevant to the NAA discussion. You wanted nothing to do with our explanations, and used the same attitude as here. Bothered? No thanks, I won't bother anymore....I will just enjoy HQP and NAA playing DXD and DSD256 multchannel on a variety of platforms. It's really quite simple.

 

By the way, I take back my offer (on PM) of helping you with those 50 SACDs.

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Hello everyone,

I am new in this wonderful world of Computer audiophile.

I am a great mc fan an own more than 100 great mc Albums, all ripped and in FLAC and DSD (DSF) available.

There are so many new Hardware Musicservers and DAC´s out for sale, but there is heardly any Information about there ability to Play multichannel files.

Can anybody provide a list of Musicservers and DAC which are capable to Play mc.

 

Thank you

Burkhard

 

An excellent resource for you is Kal Rubinson's bi-monthly column in Stereophile. The archives are here:

 

Music in the Round | Stereophile.com

 

3 close friends and I all use JRiver, and we like it very much for Mch, as well as stereo for DSD.dsf libraries, BD-A, BD-V, downloads, CD, FLAC rips of LP, etc. We like its support of all common formats under one roof, its excellent library tagging capabilities, and its superb remote app JRemote. We all think it sounds great, better than the separate silver disc players we all have.

 

My friends use it via HDMI into Anthem D2V or Marantz 8801 Mch prepros with excellent results. My system is more radical. I have built an HTPC/Music Server around JRiver, using its control capabilities feeding an Exasound E28 via USB. That is an excellent DAC, supporting all common formats up to DSD256 and PCM384. I have no prepro in my system, as I once did. My system is just PC > DAC > amps > speakers, plus a cable card tuner.

 

JRiver can play DSD bit streamed directly or via DoP, or it can transcode that to PCM on-the-fly during playback. My sonic preference is transcoding DSD to 88/176k PCM and applying Dirac Live Room EQ inside the PC. JRiver also provides bass management for my subwoofer, as well as master volume control integrated with the Exasound DAC.

 

My main limitation is that I cannot play SACD discs directly. I must rip them first. But, I was also able to use JRiver for cable TV via an HD HomerunPrime/Cable Card tuner via Ethernet. So, in addition to my prepro, JRiver eliminated the separate player and my cable box from my system.

 

JRiver's video capabilities for BD-V and TV are also excellent. However, since it has a plethora of features and capabilities with considerable flexibility for customization, there is something of a learning curve. I only use a fraction of its capabilities, but using it now is like second nature to me. However, it is the most comprehensive media player there is. And, it is cheap, yet well supported via its website and reasonably well documented.

 

Sonically, we have not heard everything. But, we all consider the playback experience with JRiver to be the best sound we have yet achieved in our homes. We are all senior audiophiles with many decades of experience. Our systems are in the $50-$100k MSRP range. Our emphasis is almost entirely on classical music, and we are all frequent live concert attendees.

 

In addition to wide support for different media, the customizable tagging capabilities, crucial for our very large classical libraries, were what first drew us to JRiver. Other tools just do not seem to measure up for our needs.

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One thing I brought up in my JRiver tips and techniques thread is that often, in computer audio playback, surround material can be offset by as much as 10db in the LFE channel in PCM (dolby digital offset, long story) vs DSD (since it can't be DSP'd). A simple parametric DSP rule can be to adjust LFE channel by 10db (or whatever) and make sure it is set to be on. A nice feature is that DSP is used in PCM and not in bitstreamed DSD, so no toggle switches need to be used when changing formats.

 

It's just one nice (often hidden) feature of JRiver's great flexibility. And most folks don;t know about the expression language, which can be a life saver. I touch on all these in my videos (below)

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Ted - your sharing of your considerable knowledge about SACD ripping, JRiver, tagging, etc. were absolutely crucial in getting me and my friends to where we are and in converting to PC library focused audio. Great sound plus great listening pleasure and convenience, after the worthwhile work was put into building our libraries. But, you were a pathfinder helping greatly to show us the way.

 

Many, many thanks.

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Burkhard, you are getting lots of good info. As noted by Ted B, you need a MCH DAC for MCH playback, regardless of what software based player you use. Ted B's list includes some of the best that exist, but they have a price tag with heft. I will offer up that a very respectable choice is the minidsp U-DAC8, which is a mere $275 for a multichannel DAC. https://www.minidsp.com/products/usb-audio-interface/u-dac8 Kal Rubinson has written in Stereophile how you can improve it with a few inexpensive add-ons. Then, you can study the wonders of bass management (routing all the bass to your sub, assuming you don't have full range speakers all around) and sound correction software (i.e., Dirac). Both are important to maximize your MCH experience. Have fun. JCR

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